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Inside the Amway Sales Machine
Wall Street Journal ^ | FEBRUARY 15, 2012 | DENNIS K. BERMAN

Posted on 02/16/2012 12:12:40 AM PST by iowamark

Holly Chen is a former first-grade teacher, just over 5 feet tall, with a taste for sequins...

"The most powerful weapon is to move somebody emotionally," she says...

Today, Ms. Chen directs one in every 10 Amway reps—getting a cut along the way.

Her total haul is estimated by one direct-sales magazine at $8 million a year. "I don't even know how much I make," she says to the group gathered in Las Vegas, part of the U.S. branch of chao fan.

Turns out these are flush days for Michigan-based Amway, which sells its own brands of cosmetics and personal products. Across developed economies, the recession has brought in a new wave of moonlighting Amway reps. Growth is much stronger in Latin America and Asia, where emerging consumers are keen to make a few extra dollars. Today, Amway derives 90% of its sales outside the U.S.

Sales last year for the closely held company, to be released Feb. 23, are expected to top $10 billion for the first time, a person familiar with the matter says. That is up more than 10% from 2010...

Glamour makes scant appearances in the lives of most Amway reps. The average North American salesperson grosses—not nets—about $200 per month, according to the company. Amway has agreed to a $155 million class-action settlement with former U.S. reps who alleged the company used deceptive practices and misled them about profits. Amway didn't admit wrongdoing but vowed to "transform" how it does business, focusing less on recruiting new salespeople and more on actually selling products.

If there are any such doubts for Ms. Chen, she has long since erased them. "I always think Amway is a system that's designed by God, only for me," she says...

(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...


TOPICS: Business/Economy; Religion; Weird Stuff
KEYWORDS: amway
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1 posted on 02/16/2012 12:12:52 AM PST by iowamark
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To: Vendome

Ping!


2 posted on 02/16/2012 12:34:08 AM PST by 2ndDivisionVet (You can't invade the US. There'd be a rifle behind every blade of grass.~Admiral Yamamoto)
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To: iowamark
Amway didn't admit wrongdoing but vowed to "transform" how it does business, focusing less on recruiting new salespeople and more on actually selling products.

Somehow I don’t believe selling products is a marketing strategy that would work for Amway.

The brother of a high school friend once invited me over to party out of the blue. I hadn’t actually seen him for about two years at the time and we hadn’t really been that well acquainted when he and his brother were friends.

I got to his house and immediately saw the Amway rep turned around and left.

If you have to be deceptive in that way to recruit sales reps it just doesn’t say much for your product.

I can say that their clothes detergent did work well for my mother who used it on my father’s heavily soiled work cloths from the foundry. After he retired she stopped using it however. That was the only Amway product that she found cost effective to use.

3 posted on 02/16/2012 12:58:02 AM PST by Pontiac (The welfare state must fail because it is contrary to human nature and diminishes the human spirit.)
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To: iowamark

I loved reading the comments posted by people who read the article. It seemed like there was a 50/50 split who thought Amway was nothing but opportunity and the other half who thought it was pyramid scheme.

Back in college, a guy (who I kinda-sorta knew from high school) approached me and put the Amway pitch on me. It wasn’t my kind of thing. He seemed irritated when I declined.

Afterwards, I thought “That’s weird. You’d think that he’d be interested in getting me to buy Amway products from him. Instead, he wanted me to be a sales rep. Something’s not right about this.”


4 posted on 02/16/2012 1:06:16 AM PST by MplsSteve (Amy Klobuchar is no moderate. She's Al Franken with a nicer smile.)
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To: iowamark
Is this like the Nu Skin company that is backing Mitt Romney?
5 posted on 02/16/2012 1:14:57 AM PST by Cincinatus' Wife
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To: Pontiac

If you have to be deceptive to present your product or opportunity it says volumes about you. (not you per se).

I don’t deal with dishonest people and you did the right thing.

That said, Amway and many other notable network marketing organizations deliver real products for sale and a terrific opportunity to those seeking a little extra cash or a Plan B to get out of ....whatever.

That Plan B can become your Plan A and you are done with the J. O. B.

Who wants to die as part of the slave class and put up with whatever you put up with for 30-40 years?

Not me.

Amway and other Network Marketing companies offer a pre-packaged business for those who just haven’t thought of anything that would be a good business.

The best part is they also offer a tremendous opportunity for such low investment.

One can make of it what they will and in these days Network Marketing can make a whole lot of sense as an alternative to a dead end job with little opportunities.

But, those opportunities are only for those who are honest.

No one wants to do business with dishonest F&*cks and you did the right thing by walking.

They would have said anything to get you in their down line and stopped at nothing including putting you down worse than Tom Vu to goad you into doing stoopid things you really shouldn’t do or are not comfortable with.

If you turn it over and it still has warts well, then it’s still a toad with warts.

Better left alone.


6 posted on 02/16/2012 1:22:43 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: MplsSteve

The hilarious part is they don’t realize they work in a pyramid “scheme” organization.

ALL companies are set up in a pyramid.

Which end are they on?

Nothing wrong with either end but when they realize how a company is structured they will see who Network Marketing works to leverage the work of many.

Like taking 1% of efforts of 100 men or making 100% of your own efforts.

Either is fine but serve different objectives.

I’ll take “The bigger your army, the bigger the battle” model.


7 posted on 02/16/2012 1:26:10 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: Cincinatus' Wife

funny, I ran into Nu Skin reps when I was in Provo last week.


8 posted on 02/16/2012 1:27:10 AM PST by Vendome (Don't take life so seriously, you won't live through it anyway)
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To: MplsSteve
From the wiki:

Political causes:

In the 1990s, the Amway organization was a major contributor to the Republican Party (GOP) and to the election campaigns of various GOP candidates. Amway and its sales force contributed a substantial amount (up to half) of the total funds ($669,525) for the 1994 political campaign of Republican congresswoman and Amway distributor Sue Myrick (N.C.).[51]

According to two reports by Mother Jones magazine, a liberal news organization, Amway distributor Dexter Yager “used the company’s extensive voice-mail system to rally hundreds of Amway distributors into giving a total of $295,871” to Myrick’s campaign.[51][52]

According to a campaign staffer quoted by the magazine, Myrick had appeared regularly on the Amway circuit, speaking at hundreds of rallies and selling $5 and $10 audiotapes.[51]

Following the 1994 election, Myrick maintained “close ties to Amway and Yager”, and raised $100,000 from Amway sources, “most notably through fundraisers at the homes of big distributors”, in the 1997–98 election cycle.[52]

In October 1994, Amway gave the biggest corporate contribution recorded to that date to a political party for a single election – $2.5 million to the Republican National Committee – and was the number one corporate political donor in the U.S.[51] In the 2004 election cycle, the organization contributed a total of $4 million to a conservative 527 group, Progress for America.[53]

In July 1996, Amway co-founder Richard DeVos was honored at a $3 million fundraiser for the Republican Party, and a week later, it was reported that Amway had tried to donate $1.3 million to pay for Republican "infomercials" and televising of the GOP convention on Pat Robertson's Family Channel, but backed off when Democrats criticized the donation as a ploy to avoid campaign-finance restrictions.[51][54]

In April 1997 Richard DeVos and his wife, Helen, gave $1 million to the Republican National Committee,[52][54] which at the time was the second-largest soft-money donation ever, behind Amway's 1994 gift of $2.5 million to the RNC.[52]

In July 1997, Senate Majority leader Trent Lott and House Speaker Newt Gingrich slipped a last-minute provision into a hotly contested compromise tax bill that granted Amway a tax break on its Asian branches, saving it $19 million.[52]

In a column published in the Fort Worth Star-Telegram newspaper in August 1997,[55] reporter Molly Ivins wrote that Amway had "its own caucus in Congress...Five Republican House members are also Amway distributors: Reps. Sue Myrick of North Carolina, Jon Christensen of Nebraska, Dick Chrysler of Michigan, Richard Rombo of California, and John Ensign of Nevada. Their informal caucus meets several times a year with Amway bigwigs to discuss policy matters affecting the company, including China's trade status."[56]

A 1998 analysis of campaign contributions conducted by Businessweek found that Amway, along with the founding families and some top distributors, had donated at least $7 million to GOP causes in the preceding decade.[54]

Political candidates who received campaign funding from Amway in 1998 included Representatives Bill Redmond (R-N.M.), Heather Wilson (R-N.M.), and Jon Christensen (R-Neb).[52]

According to a report by the Center for Public Integrity, in the 2004 election cycle, members of the Van Andel and DeVos families were the second, third and fifth largest donors to the Republican party.[56]

Dick DeVos, son of Amway founder Richard DeVos and past president of the company, served as Finance Chairman of the Republican National Committee,[57] and his wife Betsy DeVos served as chair of the Michigan Republican Party from 1996 to 2000 and 2003 to 2005.[58]

In May 2005, Dick DeVos ran against incumbent Governor Jennifer Granholm in Michigan's 2006 gubernatorial election. DeVos was defeated by Granholm, who won 56% of the popular vote to Devos' 42%.[59]

In January 2012, Amway contributed $500,000 to well known anti gay National Organization for Marriage.[60]

9 posted on 02/16/2012 1:29:09 AM PST by this_ol_patriot (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner)
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Come one! Come all! Step right up and git yer $1.50 gas RIGHT HERE!

10 posted on 02/16/2012 1:33:59 AM PST by Bradís Gramma (PRAY for this country like your life depends on it....)
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To: iowamark

I HATED their marketing program....but STILL love the products....


11 posted on 02/16/2012 1:34:47 AM PST by Bradís Gramma (PRAY for this country like your life depends on it....)
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To: iowamark

In Texas back in the late 80s there was a “movement”, scam or whatever you want to call it, called FEELIN’ GREAT. A friend tried to talk me into going to one of their meetings in Dallas. I kept asking him what it was about and all he’d say was “You have to go to the meeting to understand how it works.” The meetings cost $100 to attend. This friend was a great guy and I knew he’d fallen for a scam. He kept telling me he believed he could become a millionaire.

I said “I’ll tell you how to become a millionaire. Get ten thousand people to give you a hundred dollars.”

Several weeks later I asked about the scam and he said it was a fraud and the leader of the group was in jail. I asked how much money he’d lost. He didn’t want to talk about it. LAUGHED MY ASS OFF!

Lots of people try selling AMWAY, ever few are successful. In the old days it was Watkins Products sold door to door by “drummers”. They were legitimate and people swore by their products. My mother loved their lemon juice.


12 posted on 02/16/2012 1:36:18 AM PST by Terry Mross (Difference between a conservative / liberal-obvious. Difference between a rep and a dem? None)
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To: MplsSteve
Religion

Several sources have commented on the promotion of Christian conservative ideology within the Amway organization.[52][61][62][63]

Mother Jones magazine described the Amway distributor force as "heavily influenced by the company's dual themes of Christian morality and free enterprise" and operating "like a private political army."[52]

In The Cult of Free Enterprise, author (and former Amway distributor) Stephen Butterfield wrote “[Amway] sells a marketing and motivational system, a cause, a way of life, in a fervid emotional atmosphere of rallies and political religious revivalism.”[61]

Philadelphia City Paper correspondent Maryam Henein stated that “The language used in motivational tools for Amway frequently echoes or directly quotes the Bible, with the unstated assumption of a shared Christian perspective.”[62]

Businessweek correspondents Bill Vlasic and Beth Regan characterized the founding families of Amway as “fervently conservative, fervently Christian, and hugely influential in the Republican Party”, noting that “Rich DeVos charged up the troops with a message of Christian beliefs and rock-ribbed conservatism.”[54]

High-ranking Amway leaders such as Richard DeVos and Dexter Yager were owners and members of the board of Gospel Films, a producer of movies and books geared towards conservative Christians, as well as co-owners (along with Salem Communications) of a right-wing, Christian non-profit entity called Gospel Communications International.[52][62][64][65][66]

Rolling Stone's Bob Moser reported that former Amway CEO and co-founder Richard DeVos is connected with the Dominionist political movement in the United States. Moser states that DeVos was a supporter of the late D. James Kennedy, giving more than $5 million to Kennedy's Coral Ridge Ministries.[67][68][68] DeVos was also a founding member and two-time president of the Council for National Policy, a right-wing Christian-focused organization.[69]

Sociologist David G. Bromley calls Amway a "quasi-religious corporation" having sectarian characteristics.[70][71] Bromley and Anson Shupe view Amway as preaching the Gospel of Prosperity.[72]

Patralekha Bhattacharya and Krishna Kumar Mehta, of the consulting firm Thinkalytics, LLC, reasoned that although some critics have referred to organizations such as Amway as "cults" and have speculated that they engage in "mind control", there are other explanations that could account for the behavior of distributors. Namely, continued involvement of distributors despite minimal economic return may result from social satisfaction compensating for diminished economic satisfaction.[73]<< LOL

13 posted on 02/16/2012 1:36:43 AM PST by this_ol_patriot (Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner)
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To: iowamark

Well, calling it “Scamway” is over the top.

I know what I’m talking about, since I was an Amway rep back in the early 80’s. I was in California and got recruited under the umbrella organization of Bill Britt, a full-on Amway billionaire originally from Chapel Hill, NC.

I got to 1500 level; had recruited over 25 people personally; one “leg” was over 16 deep. I was well on my way to Direct and beyond.....until Uncle Sam transferred us to Texas and my organization, almost all in CA, fell apart without my leadership.

What I saw and learned: great products; very decent people; outstanding sales training (which has served me well over the intervening years). Heavy Christian influence in their meetings, etc.....which I liked. Still do.

That said, there was very little emphasis on actually selling product; HUGE emphasis on building your organization.

How do Emeralds and beyond really make their money? I’ll tell you, and it’s really no secret. It’s not from all the product flowing out via their organizations; that’s chump change.

The REAL money they make is from their cut(s) of the motivational books and what used to be cassette tapes of testimonials, etc. (now days, who knows....CD’s?...not sure how they distribute such material today) to their downline reps. That, folks, is how the people with high-level pins (Diamond, etc.) really rake in the cash.

Is that evil? No.....but it sure explains why there was such ridiculous pressure on all of us, hence passed to our downlines, to buy this stuff ostensibly to “learn”, get your mind right, etc.

Amway can be a great business, but walk in with your eyes wide open. I don’t regret the experience, but I’d approach it very, very differently if I was to ever get involved in it again (which is highly unlikely.....it really sort of takes over your life).


14 posted on 02/16/2012 2:23:26 AM PST by RightOnline
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To: Vendome

We’ve been approached about Primerica, another muli-level marketing company. It bothers me that he keeps telling us that we can 12% return. I don’t know of anything that gets 12% these days.


15 posted on 02/16/2012 3:29:41 AM PST by raybbr (People who still support Obama are either a Marxist or a moron.)
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To: Vendome

You use all the talking points of a true Ammoroid.


16 posted on 02/16/2012 3:39:12 AM PST by CalvaryJohn (What is keeping that damned asteroid?)
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To: raybbr

“We’ve been approached about Primerica, another muli-level marketing company. It bothers me that he keeps telling us that we can 12% return. I don’t know of anything that gets 12% these days.”

I do. Send me 100 dollars and I’ll send 12 dollars back to you.


17 posted on 02/16/2012 3:43:31 AM PST by lowbridge (Rep. Dingell: "Its taken a long time.....to control the people.")
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To: raybbr

Primerica = A.L. Williams redux


18 posted on 02/16/2012 3:49:13 AM PST by cerberus
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To: raybbr

Primerica = A.L. Williams redux


19 posted on 02/16/2012 3:49:25 AM PST by cerberus
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To: iowamark

Years ago I paid $300 for a couple of phone cards with pretty pictures on them. When you tried to use them circuits were always busy. I knew (or at least suspected) that it was a scam but the fellow that asked me was an old high school friend and so I did it. He’s sinced passed for many years and the guy that started it disappeared many years ago. Sometimes we throw money away knowing there’s little chance of getting it back. It’s called self-deception.


20 posted on 02/16/2012 4:02:10 AM PST by Portcall24
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